Eagle entrepreneur creating new way to be online
August 14, 2010
EAGLE, Colorado – Nothing you do online is private, but a local software developer is trying to change that.
Paul Kulas is developing zeldaB, an entirely new, security-based online platform.
“It’s designed from the ground up to protect its users’ privacy,” Kulas says. “Most users know they’re giving something up when they use a social-networking service, but the deal they think they’re making isn’t the deal they’re getting. Behind the scenes, it’s actually much worse than most people can imagine.”
Kulas says we’re living in a “brave new world,” where our privacy and security are constantly at risk on the Internet. The pitfalls of sharing information online are growing as fast social-networking itself, Kulas says.
Kulas has been designing software for two decades.
In the typical online social-networking model, revenue is generated by advertising sales. Those ad sales are based on personal information users post. The sites attract spammers, hackers and other predators, and nothing users post there is private, Kulas says.
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“When you sign up with a social-networking site, you allow them to share whatever you post with anyone they choose,” Kulas says. “Not only that, your private information is accessible from outside that site, as well.”
Zeldab.com changes that.
“It’s the next evolution in social networking, a new wave of highly interactive collaboration without the ‘gotcha’ that comes automatically with other online communities,” Kulas says.
At zeldab.com, Kulas says there’s no gathering and selling information about users to advertisers; no monitoring your every move; no mandated public profiles that reveal far too much information about you; no hidden terms and conditions specifying that, when you join the community, you’re giving them the license to use any content you post.
Kulas, a Colorado native and an Eagle resident since 2003, says he prefers a mountain-friendly, casual approach to doing business, when possible. He named his fledgling enterprise after the family dog, Zelda, a female bull mastiff. The “B,” he says, “comes from bees … because they do good work.”
But zeldab.com still needs some work before it’s ready for the masses, Kulas says.
He’s trying a creative strategy for funding the operation, asking for donations of as little as $5. In return, contributors receive tokens of “our profound gratitude,” including zeldaB magnets, stickers, lanyards and mouse pads; organic zeldaB cotton tote bags and T-shirts; and, ultimately, a special zeldaB homepage with a “zeldaB Founder” insignia.
“Our minimum goal for contributions is $25,000, so we can move forward in the creation of zeldaB,” says Kulas. “The real winner here will be the user. If a small percentage of the people concerned about the inappropriate use of their personal information will pitch in $5 or more, not only will they be safeguarding their own identity, but they’ll also be helping protect their friends and colleagues for generations to come.”
“If we’re successful, we believe other entrepreneurs will follow and, in time, the standard on the Internet will be to protect users’ privacy.